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Ethnic Panel decision should not have been held in secret

Ethnic Panel decision should not have been held in secret

Auckland Councillor for Orakei Cameron Brewer voiced objection at today’s Governing Body meeting against the motion that proposed that the “Recommendation for appointments to the Ethnic Peoples, Pacific Peoples and Seniors Advisory Panels” be held in confidential.

The legal reason given in the public agenda was that it was “necessary to protect the privacy” of the successful applicants.

“These are public roles in a public organisation, and so rubber-stamping such public appointments should be held in public, particularly when you consider the Mayor has already accepted the recommended make-up of two of the panels. The full council was merely ratifying the recommendations after a long and thorough selection process,” says Mr Brewer.

Mr Brewer says the Mayor has rightly removed himself on any decision-making in recent months around the make-up of the Ethic Peoples Panel.

“Of course we should never name the 149 people who applied, but the decision to accept the 54 successful applicants should have been made in public. It goes with the territory. If the public is going to have full confidence in the council’s decision-making around these advisory panels, we need to see greater transparency particularly when it gets to the very tail-end, and particularly when you consider the controversy from last year.

“Sadly some people will naturally conclude that political protection drove this discussion and decision being held in secret. No one will believe for a second that in this instance privacy outweighed public good, particularly when you consider we’re talking about 54 successful applicants who can’t wait to be publicly named and start their public work.”

“Let’s hope that political management has not got in the way of good governance. The Mayor once promised to bring greater transparency and accountability to the Town Hall, but unfortunately that seems out the window when it doesn’t suit politically,” says Cameron Brewer.

Councillors Brewer and Dick Quax voted against today’s item going into confidential.


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